Friday, 9 July 2010

Cross-dressing Daughter Saves the Day

[from A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen, 1835]

Sir John Cochrane, being engaged in Argyle’s rebellion against James II [1685], was taken prisoner after a desperate resistance, and condemned to be hanged. His daughter [18yr-old Grizel Cochrane] having noticed that the death warrant was expected from London, attired herself in men’s clothes, and twice attacked and robbed the mails (betwixt Berwick and Belford) which conveyed the death warrants; thus by delaying the execution, giving time to Sir John Cochrane’s father, the Earl of Dundonald, to make interest with Father Petre (a Jesuit), King James’ confessor, who, for the sum of five thousand pounds, agreed to intercede with his royal master on behalf of Sir John Cochrane, and to procure his pardon, which was effected.

As the ditty goes:

“I will not tak thy life,” she said,

“But gie me thy London news;

No blood of thine shall fyle my blade

Gin me ye dinna refuse.”

She’s prie'd the warrant and away she flew

With the speed and strength o’ the wild curlew.

Sounds like the sort of thing my wife would do.

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